Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ George and Elizabeth Levitt

George Levitt was the oldest full brother of Rose Levitt, my husband's maternal grandmother. I have written a little bit about him previously.

Photo courtesy FindAGrave contributor, Mark Barnett (48059838).

George and his wife Elizabeth (also known as Betty) are buried in Montefiore Cemetery, Jenkintown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where I have recently discovered that many of my mother-in-law's extended family are buried.

The Hebrew above George's name can be roughly translated as Yuda (aka Yehuda) Leib son of Mordecai. Again, I thank the members of the Tracing the Tribe Facebook page for assistance with this translation.

George's father, Mordecai, was also known as Max Levitt, and I shared his gravestone very early on in this blog.

The Hebrew above Elizabeth's name is Leah daughter of Gershon. I wrote about her mother's naturalization here.

George Levitt's FindAGrave memorial is here. Elizabeth Levitt's FindAGrave memorial is here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ William and Rachel Siegel

Rachel (Segal) Siegel was the older sister of Gussie or Golda (Segal) Levitt, my husband's great-grandmother. Rachel and her husband, William, are buried at Montefiore Cemetery, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.

One side of their gravestone is in English:


I am surprised to see 1869 as birth year for both of them, because usually when the birth year of immigrant parents is not known for sure, it is usually not mentioned on the gravestone. I'm sure it was a guess, as I have seven different sources providing a birth year for Rachel from 1866 to 1873 and eight different sources providing a birth year from 1864 to 1871 for William.

The other side of their gravestone is in Hebrew:


The Hebrew on the left is for William: Zev son of Reb Yitzhak / Died 28 Adar 5701 [Zev is Hebrew for Wolf, which is what he was known as earlier in his life.]
Rachel daughter of Reb Simcha / Died 8 Adar 5709 [See her father's all-Hebrew gravestone here.]

View Rachel's FindAGrave memorial and William's FindAGrave memorial.

Photos courtesy of FindAGrave.com volunteer, Charles Zar.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday's Tip ~ View Next Page (for Inquest Results)

In July, I shared the Pennsylvania death certificate for a great uncle of my husband, William Siegel.

In a recent "conversation" with the FindAGrave.com volunteer who took a photo of his gravestone, when he asked if I had the death certificate, I replied that yes, I did, but it didn't show the cause of death, and the family story was that he was hit by a car on his way to synagogue. He replied and let me know that, yes, this was the cause of death and all I had to do was click on the next image arrow at the website.

So, today's tip is to remember to View the Next Page in a series of images, especially if you have a question about the initial image you have located.

Here is the original death certificate that I shared in July.


When I clicked on the right arrow at the bottom of the image (in Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1944, at Ancestry.com), I get the following image:


The following are the details of the inquest on the second death certificate (handwritten (or stamped) items in blue):

Name: William Siegal
Residence: 1610 N. 52nd St, Philadelphia
17. I hereby certify that an inquest was held upon the body of the above named deceased on the APR 19, 1941 day of ____ 193__; that the jury rendered a verdict giving the cause of death as follows: Fracture of femur, Pulmonary embolism
Other contributory causes of importance: struck by auto

23. If death was due to external causes (violence), fill in also the following:
Accident, suicide, or homicide? accid[ent]  Date of injury: 3/12, 1941
Where did injury occur? Phila.
Specify whether injury occurred in industry, in home, or in public place:
bet 1707-09 N. 52nd St
Manner of injury: Fract[ure]
Nature of injury: auto

So it looks like he was hit by a car just down the street from where he lived on March 12, 1941. This was a Wednesday and the 13th of Adar in the Jewish calendar. The joyous Jewish holiday of Purim (the 14th of Adar) started at sundown that day. It must not have been very joyous for the Siegel family for their 73-year-old (or 75-year-old) father to break his leg, and then have him die two weeks later.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Litwin Family in Oheb Shalom Cemetery

Sophie (Lewites) Litwin and her husband, Samuel Litwin, are buried at Oheb Shalom Cemetery, in Hillside, New Jersey. I got a chance to briefly visit during our annual summer drive to visit family in southern New Jersey. We found the burial plot just as the rain started.

The Litwin family plot has four burials.

Husband and Father
Samuel Litwin
1872-1935

Wife and Mother
Sophie Litwin
1875-1958

Husband and Father
Grandfather
David M. Litwin
1896-1972

Wife and Mother
Grandmother
Minna Krasner Litwin
1898-1988

Sophie was a sister of Emanuel Levitas (who is buried on Staten Island, NY) and Max Levitt (who is buried in Woodbine, NJ). I wrote about Assemblyman David Litwin here.

Interesting to note that these gravestones do not include any Hebrew. This is the first Jewish cemetery that I have visited that had many gravestones without Hebrew inscriptions.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday's Obituary ~ Samuel Litwin, 1935

Samuel Litwin was my mother-in-law's uncle. (His wife was "Tante Sophie," Sophie Lewites. Max Levitt, Sophie's brother and my mother-in-law's grandfather, died earlier that year, in May.)

My mother-in-law remembers the family attending Samuel's funeral in 1935, but she and her brother remained at the house when the adults attended the funeral service. She remembers being served lunch by a maid or housekeeper, who didn't understand what she and her brother said in response to the question "what part of the chicken do you want to eat?" and they answered "pulka" which is Yiddish for thigh or leg of the chicken.

Obituary for Samuel Litwin, November 29, 1935, Jewish Chronicle, www.GenealogyBank.com.

Samuel Litwin Dies
  Funeral services were held Monday for Samuel Litwin, father of former Assemblyman David M. Litwin, who died Saturday [November 23, 1935] at his home, 53 Girard Place. Rabbi Julius Silberfeld of Congregation B'nai Abraham officiated. Interment was in Oheb Shalom Cemetery.
  Mr. Litwin was born in Russia 63 years ago. He came to this country fifty-three years ago with his parents. He was educated in the public schools. For the last thirty years he had been in the real estate and insurance business in Newark. He was a grocer and butcher in Harrison for fifteen years prior to that time.
  He was a trustee of Congregation B'nai Abraham. He was president of two building and loan associations, treasurer of two others and a director in four other associations. He was a member of several fraternal organizations.
  Besides his son he is survived by his wife, Mrs. Sophie Litwin, and two other children, Moe A. Litwin and Mrs. Jeanette Picker, both of this city.

Unveiling of stone of Samuel Litwin, October 30, 1936, Jewish Chronicle, www.GenealogyBank.com.
LITWIN - The unveiling of the monument in memory of the late Samuel Litwin, beloved husband of Sophie Litwin and devoted father of Jeanette G. Picker, Moe A. and David M. Litwin, will take place Sunday, November 1, [1936] at 2:30 P.M., at Oheb Sholom Cemtery, North Broad Street, Hillside. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to attend. In case of rain the unveiling will be postponed to the following Sunday.

I don't know if my mother-in-law attended the unveiling, but perhaps her mother did.

I find it interesting that there is no mention of Sophie's maiden name.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Levitas in Baron Hirsch Cemetery

To continue with the Levitas siblings and connecting them with their parents and their likely birthplace, I recently had a couple of FindAGrave photo requests fulfilled.

Emanuel Levitas is brother to Max Levitt (my mother-in-law's grandfather) and Sophie (Lewites) Litwin. Sarah is Emanuel's wife. They are buried in Baron Hirsch Cemetery, on Staten Island, New York.


The Hebrew reads:
Here lies 
Menachem Mendel son of
Moshe Eliezer HaLevi [a Levite]

Emanuel's brother, Max Levitt, also has "son of Moshe Eliezer" on his gravestone (in Woodbine, New Jersey).


You can just see the edge of Emanual's gravestone behind and to the right of Sarah's gravestone. Too bad there is no Hebrew here, other than "here lies". I know very little about Sarah's family.

Photos courtesy of FindAGrave volunteer, George Plunkett.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mappy Monday ~ Husiatyń

As I recently discovered, the Levitt / Levitas / Lewites family of my mother-in-law was originally from a town called Husiatyń. Where is that, you might ask?

From JewishGen's Communities Database:


Before World War I, the community of Husiatyń was in Galicia, a province in the Austrian Empire. THIS is why almost all of the records I have found for the Levitas family in America indicates a birthplace of AUSTRIA.

Using present-day country boundaries, Husiatyń is about 214 miles WSW of Kiev, Ukraine, and about 130 miles ESE of L'viv, Ukraine.

However, this is one of those communities where someone could have been born in one country (Austria), married in another country (Poland) and died in yet a third country (Ukraine) and lived in the same house all his or her life.

After WWI, the Austrian Empire dissolved, and Galicia no longer remained a geographic entity. Husiatyń then became part of Poland. Then after WWII, Husiatyń was within the boundaries of Ukraine, a Soviet Socialist Republic until it officially became an independent country in 1991.

To get an idea of where Husiatyń is today, I looked at Google Maps:

Screenshot from Google Maps with the red icon showing the present-day location of Husiatyn.
Country names in red added by me.

To get an idea of where Husiatyń was in the former Galicia, I found the following map at the website of the Toronto Ukrainian Genealogy Group:

"This map shows the territory of former Austrian Kingdom of Galicia, which was created artificially in 1772, with the partition of Poland. The red line marks present day border between Poland and Ukraine / former USSR."

The arrow at the right points to Husiatyń, where the Lewitas family was from. The arrow at the bottom points to Kolomyja, where Rebecca Levitt's husband Jacob Reisner was born.

For another very cool map, check out the following interesting website: European History Interactive Map from Worldology. This map not only shows the changes in European geopolitical boundaries over time, but also uses scroll-over buttons that, when you scroll over them, display text, explaining what was happening in that region and shading certain areas of the map, if needed. The dates are at the top of the map, or you can click on the large arrows to "move through time."

Now that I have discovered that my husband has roots in a community in Galicia, I need to learn more about it. Gesher Galicia is a website devoted to finding and putting online records for Jewish communities in the Galicia region. The page for Husyatyń is found under Gusyatin.